New Survey Research Study Reveals Major Disparities in Costs of Weight Loss Programs

NBRI Analysis Shows Cost Differences of $90 to $380 Per Month for

Leading Weight Loss Programs

Plano, TXAs consumers tighten their belts on spending, a new study indicates major differences in the costs of the nation’s leading weight loss programs. An independent cost analysis conducted by National Business Research Institute, Inc. (“NBRI”) studied the overall cost to consumers of seven (7) leading programs: Alli, Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss Centers, NutriSystem, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers (Center and Online) and The Zone.

The research considered the overall costs for each program including registration fees, weekly/monthly fees, renewal fees, counseling fees, online fees, pre-packaged food costs, grocery costs, and recommended supplement costs. The study also specifically reviewed food costs such as pre-packaged foods, supplements and grocery items such as produce, meat and dairy as recommended by each program.

The analysis found that the NutriSystem Advanced Women’s Program, using the commonly used auto-delivery option, had the lowest overall monthly program costs. According to the study, NutriSystem’s monthly costs for pre-packaged food were $293.72 and $198.40 for supplemental grocery items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and grains for a total monthly cost of $492.12. NutriSystem does not charge any fees for membership, counseling, newsletters, e-classes or access to their community site.

Alli was the most expensive program with a total monthly cost of $870.11, more than 76 percent higher than the lowest priced program. Alli offers a self-managed program that centers on the use of the FDA-approved weight loss drug, Alli, which is available without a prescription, along with online support, weekly meal plans and grocery items.

“When it comes to weight loss programs, our analysis reveals a great disparity in costs as consumers consider the program that is right for them,” said Jan Stringer West, Ph.D., Organizational Psychologist, President & Chief Executive Officer of National Business Research Institute, Inc. “Based upon which program you choose, the nationwide increase in the price of produce, meats, dairy and grains has a significant impact on overall monthly costs. As consumers reduce discretionary spending, the costs of these programs may weigh heavier on their decisions.”

NBRI Weight Loss Cost Analysis…2

According to the NBRI Cost Analysis Study:

  • Alli, a self-managed program, had overall monthly program costs of $870.11;
  • Jenny Craig, a center-based or online program, had overall monthly costs of $812.23;
  • Weight Watchers, the center-based program, had overall monthly costs of $699.69;
  • Weight Watchers, the online program, had overall monthly costs of $686.64;
  • The Zone, a self-managed program, had overall monthly costs of $617.62;
  • Slim Fast, a self-managed program, had overall monthly costs of $609.68;
  • LA Weight Loss Centers, a center-based program, had overall monthly costs of $582.34;
  • NutriSystem, an online program, had overall monthly costs of $492.12.

NBRI Research Methodology

Seven (7) diet programs were researched independently using the same manner as a consumer would research the programs in making the decision to participate in one of the included programs. This research included visiting the websites for each of the programs, contacting each program by telephone for clarification and/or additional information, visiting centers, where applicable, and visiting various supermarkets to cost ingredients for recommended meal plans.

The process was to calculate actual costs for participating in a program for one (1) month. Specifically, calculations were based on program costs for 28 days. Grocery costs were calculated by adjusting the local prices (Dallas, TX) for the Cost of Living Index. Grocery prices in the Dallas area are .936 of the National Average, according to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index ( Weekly costs were based on 4.33 weeks per month. Recommended meal plans were included for those programs that require participants to use self-prepared meals.

The independent cost analysis study was underwritten by NutriSystem.

About National Business Research Institute (NBRI)

NBRI specializes in psychological research for business, commonly referred to as employee surveys and customer surveys. Project Leaders possess Ph.D. degrees in psychological research, and have assisted thousands of firms around the world since 1982. Clients are able to confidently implement action plans that provide the greatest amount of improvement with the least amount of time and manpower.